The fear of failure is perhaps the biggest problems that young entrepreneurs face nowadays. It is important to understand that failing is just a normal part of the process of becoming successful. What differentiates successful businessmen from the ones that make it, is that they never stop trying until they manage to do it.
“Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” – Ronald Reagan
We shouldn’t look at failure as a mistake; but rather as a way to gain experience and become better with each attempt. Here are some of the most important stories of extremely creative entrepreneurs whose early failures have had a major impact on their eventual success.
“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it” – Henry Ford
Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motors, was very familiar with the taste of failure in the early days of his career. His first company, Detroit Motor Company, which he founded in 1899, had low quality cars with prices set too high for the average consumer.
However, he never gave up his dream and kept developing better cars, until he reached the turning point in his life, creating the “Ford 999” in 1904. Four years later, Ford released “Model T” which saw tremendous success because of its low price and high-quality build. Annual sales reached $250,000 in 1914.
“Never feel too small or powerless to make a difference” – Anita Roddick
In 1976, Anita Roddick opened her new beauty shop – “The Body Shop”. Two neighboring stores tried to file complaints against her and objected to the opening of her business. Roddick, however, never gave up and fought hard, spreading her story in the local press, while she was under constant pressure to shut down the store. The publication of her case in the press had a significant impact on her store’s popularity, and by the 90’s the business had become a brand with more than 700 stores around the world.
“I’m not afraid to take a swing and miss.” – Frederick Smith
In 1984, Frederick Smith started his new company, “FedEx International”, creating an electronic delivery system to try to compete with the fax machines at that time. The project did not turn out as Smith hoped, and the company ended up losing around 350 million dollars in just two years.
In 1986, determined to succeed, Smith restarted the company under the name of “FedEx” and changed its focus on deliveries. Fast forward to 2010, the company was amongst the world’s top and had an annual revenue of $35 billion.
“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible” – Walt Disney
Walt Disney faced several financial setbacks with his company, “Disney World”, in the late 1920s and early 1930s, bringing the company’s debt to $4 million and losing the character rights to the “Oswald Rabbit”.
With almost no capital left, Walt Disney didn’t let failure stop him, and he came out with an idea for a project called “Snow White”. The movie came out in 1983 and had an unprecedented success, saving the company from bankruptcy and financed constructing its new headquarters in California.
“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice” – Steve Jobs
After creating the company, himself, Steve Jobs was eventually kicked out of “Apple International” following a decision of the former Pepsi marketing executive John Sculley, which Jobs had recruited himself to work for Apple.
Jobs left the company together with five other senior Apple employees and went to create his new company, NeXT. The company saw tremendous success, and in 1997 Apple acquired NeXT for $429 million and 1.5 million shares of apple stock. Steve Jobs, who at the time was CEO of NeXT Software, returned to the company he co-founded as part of the agreement.
Shortly after, he became CEO of Apple, developing the iPod and iPhone and earning the company a position amongst the most successful companies in the past decade.
“Never give up, because you never know if the next try is going to be the one that works” – Mary Kay Ash
After spending 25 years in the company’s sales department, Mary Kay resigned from Stanley Home Products. She was frustrated after the company ignored her promotion request, choosing instead to promote other trainees that she had supervised herself.
Mary never stopped trying until she became successful, creating the “Mary Kay Cosmetics” company. In 2009, worldwide sales were estimated at $2.5 billion.
Throughout our journey, we will often face setbacks – it’s just a normal part of the process. It’s important to never let these failures bring us down and keep focusing on our goals until we achieve them. The greatest people in the world are known to have risen again and again, until they fulfilled their dreams.